S. Korea must take the lead on sustainable development: U.N. chief

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at a forum in Seoul on Aug. 11. (Yonhap)
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called on his native South Korea to take the lead in promoting sustainable development and finding solutions to global hunger, climate change and other pending challenges.«The Republic of Korea should be in the forefront of tackling global issues and achieving sustainable development,» the secretary-general told a forum hosted by an influential South Korean business lobby group, referring to South Korea by its official name.Ban arrived in South Korea on Tuesday for a six-day official visit, his first since he was elected to a second five-year term as U.N. leader in June. He has said that sustainable development, which aims to reduce global poverty while preserving the environment, would be the top priority during his second term that begins Jan. 1 next year.

He has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give a voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the U.N. itself.

Ban said his home country must play a bigger role in international affairs, citing the nation’s experience of building an economic miracle on the ruins of the 1950-53 Korean War and then fostering a politically vibrant democracy.

«As a result of Korea’s economic development and democratization, the international community is increasingly looking to (Korea’s) capacity and experience to address global challenges,» Ban told South Korean business leaders.

In a separate session with local TV journalists, Ban said he sees «no obstacle» to a possible visit to North Korea.

Ban has said the possibility of his visit to Pyongyang as the U.N. chief remains open, but various issues should be adjusted if such a visit takes place.

«I will review the appropriate timing for me to engage» North Korea, he told reporters.

Inter-Korean relations cooled to their lowest level in years following the North’s two deadly military attacks on the South last year that killed a total of 50 South Koreans.

Despite the high tensions, the U.N. chief said the South Korean government needs to send humanitarian aid to North Korea.

«For the sake of inter-Korean reconciliation, it is desirable for the South Korean government to positively consider» sending humanitarian aid to the North, Ban said.

The U.N. leader said he also asked South Korea to send military engineers to South Sudan to help rebuild the newest African nation.

«I met President Lee Myung-bak and Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin yesterday and made the request to dispatch engineering troops to South Sudan as part of a U.N. mission,» Ban said.

Ban, who served as South Korea’s foreign minister before taking the helm of U.N. in 2007, also urged home country to spend more to help less developed countries.

«Korea needs to significantly increase its contribution to the Official Development Aid (ODA),» Ban said earlier.

The ODA is designed to help Asian, African and Latin American countries establish economic and industrial infrastructure. The assistance consists of concessional loans, grants and other support for multilateral cooperation business.

South Korea has been ramping up the global development aid for poor and less developed countries as part of its efforts to give back for the help it received from the international community in rebuilding its economy following the Korean War.

The Seoul government plans to spend around 1.7 trillion won (US$1.56 billion) in ODA this year, according to foreign ministry officials.

Later in the day, Ban launched a U.N. youth conference in the western city of Incheon. About 500 students from around the world will take part in the third Global Model UN Conference.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launches the Global Model U.N. Conference in Incheon, west of Seoul, on Aug. 11. (Yonhap)

Source / Fuente: english.yonhapnews.co.kr

Author / Autor: Staff

 Date / Fecha: 11/08/11

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